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Goodbye, Goodnight, Thank You

TheOpenRoad-long goodbyeThis will be my last post on Car Free Baltimore. I’ve accepted a city planning position in Dallas and will be relocating there this week.

I wasn’t quite sure how to end this blog. I was just going to list things I hoped Baltimore would accomplish in the future, but then I realized I did that in almost every single post. I was also going to say something about how living car free and becoming a vulnerable road user changed my perspective of city planning and what constitutes good street design, but you can search the archives for that stuff.

This decision didn’t come easily. Even though I’m a transplant and lived up and down the east coast, Baltimore became my home for 6 years. Growing up in the suburbs and going to college in small towns, moving here was my first experience living in a “big city”. Living car free for the first time in my adult life also made me revisit a lot of assumptions and misconceptions I had about transportation planning and what constitutes livability.

While I’ve kept my professional life separate from this blog, a quick search will tell you that I worked as a transportation planner for Baltimore City Department of Transportation for the past 6 years. Some of the things I’ve written about here served as foundations and brainstorming sessions for actual projects. I was lucky to work with some of the most professional, dedicated planners and engineers during my time at BCDOT.  My experience in Baltimore will serve as a foundation for my future planning work. I also owe thanks to the people who took a chance on a kid from the sticks, brought me on board and challenged me with interesting, visionary projects.

I want to give a few shutouts to people who made Baltimore a big chapter of my life at the risk of leaving a lot of people out.  I won’t use full names since I’m sure the last thing these people want is to have Google searches for them land on some dude’s blog about not having a car.  Nate, you kept the wheels going even when I got discouraged.  Jessica, that first tour of Baltimore where the only things you pointed out were “form stone” and “Natty Boh” pretty much covered it.  Mr. Kramer, the statesman who fixed my furniture.  Pauly D, my brother from another mother.  Jamie H., rap star. Kevin, the new Keith Richards. Sarah, for teaching me about dissonance. Scott, orange never bleeds (or something). Madeleine, you were right; I walk like a Velociraptor. Victor, your globetrotting inspired me to get off my ass. Lisa, just go with it when I give aliases at Starbucks. Patrick, get your PhD.  Helen, for keeping everything running. Jeffrey, bring that cowgirl caravan with you when you visit. Finally, a shoutout to Streetsblog who have sent a ton of traffic my way over the years. They carry the flame.

And every single person who has read Car Free Baltimore.  I’ll see you in Texas.

Sincerely,

Mark

**Update 12/2/2013: I’ll be writing at Car Free Dallas with more of a focus on traffic safety, injury prevention research, and other public health aspects of transportation planning.  Since this site is still (surprisingly) regularly visited, the archives will remain up indefinitely.

A Concept for a Thames Street Cycletrack

Thames Street. Wide enough to land an airplane one.

Thames Street. Wide enough to land an airplane on.

It’s argued that Thames Street in Fell’s Point is a major gap in Baltimore’s waterfront promenade. I happen to agree. While the cobblestone street looks great, narrow sidewalks and a complete lack of bike infrastructure creates a bottleneck for pedestrians and cyclists.  Thames Street is about 80 feet wide through the waterfront section; wide enough to create a more complete street while not effecting through traffic. Simply widening the sidewalks could be a possibility, but that’s too easy (and relatively expensive given drainage, utilities, cobblestone and ADA issues). Though not as simple as Pratt Street, a cycletrack along the Thames Street waterfront could reduce bike/pedestrian conflicts on sidewalks and entice more (future) bike share users and tourists to visit Fell’s Point businesses.

I’m a proponent of high visibility cycletracks on major commercial corridors despite the engineering challenges. They’re good for local businesses. They’re a great way to showcase progressive complete street infrastructure, and they “sell” cycling to everyone who uses the street. Thames Street’s primary challenge is the cobblestone, which is not ideal for walking or biking but gives the street an old world charm. Paving the cycletrack with grout while leaving the rest of the cobblestone alone could be a solution. While green paint would be way too gaudy for a historic district, tasteful lane markings with bike icons on the grout could be a possibility. The buffer between the cycletrack and parallel parking bay could be lined with inexpensive movable planters to spruce up all the hard scape.

Parking is the second big issue. Because there are wide 90 degree parking bays on the street to maximize the number of spaces, adding a cycletrack and buffer means something has to give. One side of the street will need to be converted to parallel parking. While I haven’t bothered to calculate the number of spaces which would be lost, I think it’s a worthwhile tradeoff.  The handful of lost parking spaces will be replaced by hundreds of cyclists a day traveling through Fell’s Point’s front door, and research shows cyclists spend more than drivers on local retail.

Concept for a Thames Street cycletrack (click to view PDF)

Concept for a Thames Street cycletrack (click to view PDF)

The third challenge is connecting the cycletrack to streets to the north. Broadway would have new grout bike lanes on the cobblestone sections with signs (and enforcement) to prevent trucks from parking on them, and there would be a connection to Ann and Lancaster Streets. Cyclists would still have to travel over cobble between Broadway and the Thames Street cycletrack, but that’s only for a short distance.

Awesome water views to the south.  A thriving Main Street to the north.  It’s time to complete the scene and transform Thames Street into a complete street.

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Reference: Four ways protected bike lanes help local businesses, Green Lane Project, Michael Andersen

A Concept for a Pratt Street Cycletrack

Pratt Street Cycletrack Crosssection

Pratt Street Cycle track Cross Section

Have you ever biked through downtown Baltimore and thought to yourself, “I can’t believe I survived that”? While riding in traffic is fine for low speed residential streets, downtown arterials require bike infrastructure to get more novice and intermediate cyclists out on the streets.  Just like in transit planning, direct cycling routes are best, and nothing is more direct than Pratt Street. With restaurants, retail, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the MARC station, the awesome bike parking at University of Maryland garage and easy access to the harbor and the Jones Falls Trail, there’s demand for a dedicated bike route on one of the most visible streets in the city.

NYC has shown the world the benefits of cycletracks on high volume streets. Here’s one study:

 The New York City Department of Transportation implemented a bicycle path and traffic calming pilot project for Prospect Park West in Brooklyn in 2010 and published their results in early 2011. It created a two-way bicycle path with a three-foot parking lane buffer and the removal of one lane from motor vehicles. They found that weekday cycling traffic tripled after the implementation; cyclists riding on the sidewalk fell to 3% from 46% (the count included children who are legally allowed to ride on the sidewalk); speeding dropped from 74% to 20% of all vehicles; crashes for all road users were down 16% and injuries to all road users were down 21%. – NYC DOT 2011 Cycletrack Study

Like most good things, there are trade offs. A full lane of traffic will need to be removed on Pratt Street between MLK Jr. Blvd and Light Street. While this may not have a big impact where traffic volumes are lower between MLK Jr. Blvd and Paca Street, higher volume segments east of Paca may see a minor increase in delays (measured in seconds, not minutes). Also, at intersections where traffic turns north from Pratt Street, bike signals will be needed to reduce auto/pedestrian/cyclist conflicts, but this type of infrastructure has been installed in DC and NYC with success.

Pratt St. Cycletrack Concept

Pratt St. Cycletrack Concept (click to view full concept as a PDF file)

These are minor issues compared to the benefits of a Pratt Street Cycle Track:

  • Reduction in auto speeds
  • Increased retail sales from bike traffic
  • Fewer pedestrian/bike injuries on corridor
  • Completes a critical bike network link between neighborhoods east and west of downtown
  • Increased number of novice cyclists who prefer to bike on protected lanes

As for the Grand Prix, the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide doesn’t have a chapter on incorporating 200 mph race cars into bike networks, but if you have any ideas, let me know.

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**Reference: New York Times, September 10, 2013: In Bloomberg’s City of Bike Lanes, Data Show, Cabs Gain a Little Speed

 

How To Revive Little Italy

The image some people have of Little Italy

The image some people have of Little Italy

Reports of Little Italy’s death are premature, but with several major restaurants closing in the past few months, the neighborhood needs a shot in the arm.  Tucked between downtown and the glimmering Harbor East, Little Italy has an enormous location advantage along with an image problem.  Do you like wood paneling, 3 piece suits, Robert Goulet and 1970s style plaid carpets? Didn’t think so. This is the image some people have of traditional Italian restaurants. While the quality and diversity of eating establishments will need to improve, Little Italy itself should become more of a destination for Baltimore residents and tourists.  Here are a few ideas to add spark to the area.

  • Restaurants: Having just been to Vapiano in DC, a high-quality, casual cafeteria-style place in Little Italy would pull some foot traffic from Harbor East and appeal to a broader customer base than trend-chasing places like Milan. Larger dining spaces and multi-use venues would create a buzz in the neighborhood and an alternative to traditional Italian restaurants.
  • Visibility: I’ve met a few tourists in Harbor East who didn’t even know Baltimore had a Little Italy. An iconic, brightly lit sign on the Pratt/President Street parking garage would do wonders to make visitors aware of the neighborhood. Better pedestrian way finding from downtown and Harbor East would also help.
  • Street Life: Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd. The Bocce court and summer outdoor movies are great, but most of the time the streets are empty. This wasn’t always the case – I’ve read accounts from long time residents that Little Italy’s streets used to be the front porch of the neighborhood.  Times have changed, but buskers, more outdoor dining spaces, and small public plazas would increase the sense of neighborhood safety and vitality.
  • Little Italy’s Front Door: This ties into visibility. People’s first impression of the neighborhood is often the President/Pratt St. parking garage or the parking lots near Fawn St. The parking garage itself is probably the worst gateway to any neighborhood in the city, but until it can be torn down and replaced with a neighborhood-appropriate mixed use project, we just have to deal with it. The Fawn Street parking lots offer an opportunity to create a true neighborhood gateway which brings in foot traffic from downtown and Harbor East.  Somewhere between the development density of Little Italy and Harbor East, potential mixed use projects on these lots could reflect Little Italy’s architectural character while providing modern floor plates for new neighborhood restaurants and services.

In the mean time, go check out the Bocci court and let the locals show you how it’s done.

Car Free Personal Safety in Baltimore

Before I moved to Baltimore 5 years ago I mostly lived in small towns and suburbs. I read a bit about Baltimore’s crime issues before moving here, but didn’t think it would affect me. A robbery headline in the paper was some other guy. When 5 teenagers attacked a bunch of cyclists this spring, myself included, I wondered what I could have done to prevent the attack. In my circumstances, not much. But I will say that ditching my car and being more exposed to Baltimore’s streets has changed me. We adapt to our environments, and city life is fundamentally different than living in a cul-de-sac in Iowa City. Despite all the wonderful things Baltimore has to offer, we still have a crime problem. Accepting this fact is the first step in protecting yourself.

We can’t prevent all crime, but we can do some things to make ourselves appear as less of a victim.  This is a part of personal responsibility. Some people may bemoan the fact that I’m telling them they should change their style or behavior because of where they live. That’s fine. You can wear headphones and play on your IPad on MTA all you want. Something may never happen, but know that you’re dealing yourself a hand with a few extra Jokers thrown in.

So here are a few things I’ve done to adapt to the city and improve my personal safety while I’m out on the street. This stuff isn’t meant to scare you, but make you aware:

  • Ditch the headphones. I used to love listening to music on the bus. I’d get lost in it. Those new ultra-high-quality-ear-muff headphones are temping, too. After witnessing a few grab and runs and seeing joggers with headphones get robbed, I stopped that.  I’d say this is the most important thing you can do to decrease your chances of being robbed. Yes, it’s a sacrifice, but it also gives you a chance to interact with more people while you’re out.
  • Walk with a purpose.   I see a lot of people float apologetically through the streets, eyes focused on nothing in particular and hands in their pockets. Walk like you mean it. Walk like you just came back from Europe after WWII, victorious.
  • Get In Shape.  You can still be a hipster and not look like a light breeze will blow you over.  For dudes: Going to the gym regularly will build your confidence, get you ladies, and make thugs think twice about messing with you.
  • If it’s late, go in groups or get a cab. Notice the time of day a lot of street robberies happen? If you biked somewhere on the other side of town during the day, stayed later than you thought (because that bourbon is good), and have a long bike ride home by yourself through a rough area, think about getting a cab.
  • Stop talking on the phone, txting, or playing with your iPad on the bus. I witnessed several grab and runs on MTA this summer. Most of them involved people txting or reading stuff on their IPad. If your friend just txted, I’m sure they’ll understand if you wait 10min to get back to them. You are not a slave to your phone.  Having to replace a stolen phone with your entire life on it is not something I’d wish on my worst enemy.
  • Bike route choices: In Baltimore, you often have a choice between comfortable cycling routes in iffy areas (Guildford Bike Blvd, Jones Falls near JFX, MLK Jr. Blvd side path), or less comfortable routes in safer areas (Charles St., St. Paul St.). Know your options. Lately, I’ve been choosing the latter.

Living without a car in Baltimore is a struggle, but if you’re able to adapt, it’s still ten times better than the alternative. Especially when you see something like this on your bike ride home.

 

Street Networks As A Foundation For Livable Cities

Baltimore Brew had an excellent write up on the Metro West complex last week. Social Security Administration will soon vacate the complex, leaving an 11 acre site on the edge of downtown Baltimore open for redevelopment. The move offers an opportunity to reimagine an important link between west Baltimore and downtown. Currently, the Metro West site is a no mans land of suburban style office buildings framed by inhospitable roads (I’m looking at you, MLK Jr. Blvd and US 40). While the office buildings can easily be demolished or repurposed, the biggest site challenge is the street network.

US 40 and MLK Jr. Blvd both act as border vacuums making access to Metro West difficult for pedestrians, cyclists, and even drivers.  Construction of US 40 in the mid 20th century demolished dense urban blocks, leaving major barriers between West Baltimore neighborhoods. The highway access ramps between US 40 and Franklin/Mulberry Streets also make infill projects difficult, if not impossible. While it may not seem like it, the entire area is one big superblock.  Creative work arounds are possible, but to get the most human-scaled development potential out of this project,  we should get rid of the site constraint entirely by demolishing the 2 most eastern blocks of US40 while reconnecting the street grid throughout the area. Since the western 2 blocks of US40 have also been demolished and are currently being repurposed as MARC Station parking (with plans for future TOD), consider this plan a natural bookend and compliment to the West Baltimore MARC project.

Because US 40 also divided the street network, reconnecting the grid is an important first step in a Metro West site plan. Demolishing both highway access ramps up to Schroeder St., reconnecting the two halves of Fremont and creating new local streets at Poppleton, Brune, and one bisecting the Metro West site will result in 7 new greenfield development sites (shown in blue).  The grade difference between US 40 and adjacent blocks east of Fremont is minimal, so expensive highway caps won’t be needed as they would be west of Schroeder St. Franklin and Mulberry, presently high speed traffic arteries, can be reimagined as more pedestrian friendly streets to create solid pedestrian and cycling routes from both sides of the site. MLK Jr. Blvd, a high speed arterial, can undergo an incremental right-sizing with widened medians and bumpouts to make crossing the street less of a death-defying experience. The existing Metro West buildings (in red) would now be part of a more intact urban space with better site access. Reconnected neighborhoods and new development potential to the west would also leverage whatever public or private investment occurs at Metro West.

Site Plan for the east side of US40: Blue=new development sites. Red=demolition or rehabilitation of existing Metro West buildings. Orange Lines=New streets. Yellow lines=Traffic calming/complete street improvements.

While demolishing highway ramps and building a bunch of new streets would be expensive, the potential for urban, mixed use development projects on these newly created infill sites would pay dividends, especially for the West Baltimore communities which were divided during US40 construction.  Right now all that highway right of way is contributing nothing towards Baltimore’s revenue stream and constitutes a blighting influence on a huge area of the city. The existing street network around Metro West is the major impediment to livability for area neighborhoods. Fixing the network is the first and primary step in creating a world class Metro West redevelopment project.

Possible infill development scenario, with higher density office/retail fronting MLK Jr. Blvd, neighborhood retail and affordable/moderate income housing lining Franklin and Mulberry.

Possible infill development scenario, with higher density office/retail fronting MLK Jr. Blvd, neighborhood retail and affordable/moderate income housing lining Franklin and Mulberry.

 

See also: A new freeway depreciates itself and the city as fast as your new car

 

Anti-Fragile Public Spaces

Some things get stronger the more they’re challenged.

What do Times Square and, say, State Highway 36 in Illinois have in common? If you said absolutely nothing, you’re almost correct. It’s true you can see wobbling people in Muppet costumes, scantly clad cowgirls and 200ft. tall car ads on Broadway.  On the other hand, you can see lots of speeding traffic and strip malls on Highway 36. The only thing these places have in common is that they’re both in the public right of way, however one is fragile and the other is anti-fragile.

In Nassim Taleb’s book, “Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder” he makes a case for disorder, stress, fragmentation, and variation in our personal lives and in larger economic and political systems. Try to make things too safe, too predictable, and the probability of larger catastrophes increases in the future. Some individuals and systems get stronger the more they’re challenged (bones, entrepreneurs, ancient philosophy), while others break completely (Lehman Brothers, debt financing, bureaucrats). Taleb’s idea isn’t new; the Five Slogans of Machig Labdron in Buddhist teachings advocates getting out of one’s comfort zone and experiencing uncomfortable-ness. Perhaps to both Taleb and Labdron, this may mean teaching yourself snake handling skills if you fear snakes, or even standing in the middle of Times Square and being confronted with the unpredictable theater of street life; a dude in an Elmo costume trying to give you a hug.

On State Highway 36, there’s little unpredictability. Little variation from the constant hum of speeding traffic, big box shops, parking lots, and strip malls. It’s a system engineered from the top down for a single purpose; to move automobiles efficiently. It’s an enormously predictable system, but one built on a house of cards and predicated on cheap gas, cheap suburban mortgages, and massive transportation subsidies from the federal government. Take just one of these things away, and the system collapses. If we look at system performance and design, one wreck and the system also collapses due to a lack of alternate routes and modes.  Fragile.

Places which are designed for multiple purposes thrive on disorder. Not only do they have redundancy, but they have anti-fragility. If a massive foreign war should break out and disrupt global oil supplies, $9 per gallon gas would render State Highway 36 useless. Places like New York City would still host cyclists, pedestrians, shops, and excellent transit access though. In fact, all of these systems would see a boost with less automobile traffic clogging the streets and a flock of new residents and commuters who can no longer afford car ownership.  Anti-Fragile.

The same concept can be applied on a smaller scale. Project for Public Spaces advocates for multi-purposed public spaces, no matter what their size. This creates complimentary and diverse uses throughout the day. In the morning, yoga. In the afternoon, a food truck outdoor cafe. In the evening, an up and coming singer songwriter trying to be the next Jackson Browne.  And should another economic collapse happen, the space will host an Occupy Wall Street camp.  The cacophony of uses and modes of a quality public space or complete street brings a qualitative value which can’t be measured in travel time or LOS. A space designed to only be used by corporate employees during their 1/2 hour lunch break would make even Highway 36 seem like an exciting place.

Taleb says artificially imposed peace and order will eventually bite you in the end. I happen to agree. In designing our cities, streets and public spaces, a bit of disorder and redundancy pays dividends. A space like Times Square may not be for everyone, but it has lasting value and adaptability. It also has economic self sufficiency.  The cost of maintaining the public infrastructure around Times Square pales in comparison to the amount of revenue the place brings in for the city.  On the other hand, top down efficiency is costly. Highway 36 is a financial albatross for nearby municipalities. Perhaps federal funds were used to construct the highway, but road maintenance costs, declining property tax revenue of auto-oriented development, and high transportation costs for residents (car ownership is a prerequisite to participate in these places) negates any financial benefit the road may have in attracting development. If we extrapolate this idea further, almost all auto capacity expansion projects, interstate interchange “upgrades”, and new highways have reached a point of negative return.  These projects are extremely fragile and enable a series of negative externalities state DOTs often don’t calculate. Fortunately, the public is catching on. The defeat of Portland’s CRC highway is a sign that the tide is turning against fragile, big budget highway projects.

So next time you’re showing out of town visitors a quality public space or complete street in your city, mention how “anti-fragile” it is and watch their reaction. You’ll be glad you did.

 

*Shoutout to Parksify, a new collaborate planning and public space blog I’ll be contributing to.

Car Free Vacations

This is a guest post by the Baltimore Chop, an urban lifestyle blog about everything cool in Baltimore.

 

July and August are peak vacation times in the US. Most Americans do some sort of traveling over the Summer, and those who don’t usually wish they could- and would if they had a little extra money. There’s no doubt about it, vacations are expensive. But one simple way to cut your travel bills significantly is to take a vacation from driving.

Typically, the more tourist-friendly a destination is, the easier it is to get around without a car. Whether you’re visiting a bustling urban center like New York, Las Vegas, New Orleans or Chicago, a beach town in a place like Florida or South Carolina, or something even more ‘vacationy’ like indulging in an inclusive resort or going on a cruise, any time you’re spending behind the wheel is time you’re not relaxing and enjoying time off with friends and family. So why not reduce time behind the wheel to zero and save some money into the bargain?

Our idea of a nice vacation.

Our idea of a nice vacation.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that cars can affect the typical vacation budget. Supposing we want to go to Disney World for a week and have a car handy at all times. Long term parking at BWI is $8 a day. We fly to MCO and book a car at Enterprise, a quick websearch of which quotes us around $165 for a week’s rental of an intermediate 4-door. We’re also probably going to spend about $50 filling the tank at the end of the week with Orlando Gas prices currently around $3.28/gal. Orlando being what it is, your hotel may offer free parking, but most hotels in America don’t. Some hotels get as much as $30 a day in parking fees, and if your hotel doesn’t offer free parking, you’re pretty much stuck paying it because you’re not likely to be able to walk easily to free street parking, especially without local knowledge. the Hotel we looked at as an example for this trip was the Hilton Lake Buena Vista which charges $13 a day for parking. According to our calculations, a week of driving at Disney will cost you, at a minimum, $362. This doesn’t include incidentals like parking anywhere besides your hotel.

$362 isn’t exactly a fortune, but it is a significant sum considering you could probably get around Orlando just as easily without a car. Disney has a wide range of free transportation options including buses, boats and the monorail, and many hotels offer free courtesy shuttle service to get you where you need to go. It’s unlikely that in a week in Disney you’d ever need to use Orlando’s public transit system but that’s an option as well. And of course the concierge can get you a cab at any time of the day or night.

The bottom line is that no matter where you go a little planning can result in a lot of savings. Finding the perfect hotel that’s right downtown or on the beach means you won’t have to go far to get where you want to be, and even if it costs a few extra bucks a night you can still save money and hassle in the long run.

Why Baltimore Is Not Ready For Bike Share

Charles Street: Not ready for prime time.

This marks my three year anniversary of going car free.  In that time, I’ve cycled through scorching heat, bitter cold, speeding city traffic, winding rural roads, and everything in between.  I broke my arm, was attacked, got really in shape, and reduced my transportation expenses to almost nothing. I’ve met some amazing people through Baltimore’s burgeoning bike culture and saw some wild stuff by simply being present in urban life outside of a car. The experience completely changed my perspective on road design, traffic safety, and what our streets should be.

While the positives far outweigh whatever setbacks and inconveniences I encountered,  I’m also more convinced than ever that Baltimore is out of the game when it comes to quality cycling infrastructure and livable streets. In my three years of being car free, I’ve had to use all of my creativity, gumption and courage to find marginally safe cycling routes to the places I wanted to go.  The barriers to cycling here are high. They shouldn’t be. Historic, walkable neighborhoods. A great waterfront. Density and lots of amenities in a compact city. This place should be a cycling paradise.  Cities like Memphis, Pittsburgh, New York, and DC have taken the initiative with buffered bike lanes, cycle tracks, sensible road diets, and a comprehensive network of traditional bike lanes. They’ve seen the benefits of these investments. Baltimore’s bike ridership is up, but the increase is despite our infrastructure, not because of it.

And while there is talk of a bike share system here, Baltimore is simply not ready for it. As a city planner, and as someone who has walked and biked our streets far more than the people who originally designed them, such a system would put many novice riders in an unforgiving environment. An example: Charles Street in Mt. Vernon is a natural bike route for visitors making a trip from the Inner Harbor. It’s historic, commercial, a scenic byway, has lots of restaurants and street life.  Even without bike lanes, visitors and novice riders using our bike share system would inevitably try to bike on Charles Street. They will find fast, one way traffic, peak hour parking restrictions (which encourages speeding even more), and a general disregard for cyclists because the design cues of the street prioritize through traffic. Current alternate routes: an isolated expanse on Fallsway near the prison, or possibly Park Ave, another fast one way street lacking bike lanes.

The problem is twofold: Baltimore has a strong auto culture because of our lack of fixed rail transit. This is understandable. The other problem is there is no vocal champion for a comprehensive bike network within our city’s leadership. Baltimore’s leadership should step up to the podium and say, “We will have X miles of protected bike lane miles and X bike mode share by 2020″. Given that most bike infrastructure costs a fraction of repaving a road, lack of funding shouldn’t be an excuse.

Yes, there are new bike lanes and cycle tracks in the pipeline, but progress has been excruciatingly slow compared to other cities. In order for a bike share system to succeed, more momentum needs to be seen in redesigning our streets to provide safe bike routes and slower traffic speeds. The economic, social, and environmental benefits of complete streets are known. The goal is attainable. It’s time Baltimore steps up to the plate.

Baltimore City Transportation Funds